Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts named Republican committee finance chair

Ricketts replaces casino magnate Steve Wynn, who stepped down last weekend

ByABC News
January 31, 2018, 1:16 PM
Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts, leaves the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Nov. 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts, leaves the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Nov. 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
Aude Guerrucci/AP

— -- Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and previously President Trump's nominee to be Deputy Commerce Secretary, was named the next Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Ricketts replaces casino magnate Steve Wynn, who stepped down from the position of RNC Finance Chairman over the weekend after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him.

The Executive Committee of the RNC unanimously confirmed Ricketts as its next finance chair, and the entire RNC will vote on Friday to formalize the pick during its 2018 winter meeting.

"[Ricketts'] incredible leadership and proven track record of results will continue to grow support for our Party and ensure we have the resources needed to deliver Republican victories in 2018 and beyond," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a statement released Wednesday.

"Todd will be a great addition to the Republican National Committee and I couldn’t be happier he is lending his tremendous leadership to our Party," President Trump said in the RNC statement.

Ricketts now has a tough task ahead of him, as he hopes to help the GOP hold onto control of both the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

"I look forward to raising the resources to support the president, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to continue the Republican Party’s successful agenda of reducing taxes on all Americans and creating jobs and opportunity," Ricketts said.

The White House withdrew Ricketts’ nomination to be the number two at the Commerce Department last April after he was unable to untangle himself from his business dealings.

The wealthy and well-connected Ricketts family have been close allies of the Republican Party for multiple generations.

Todd Ricketts’ parents, Joe Ricketts and Marlene Ricketts, have given nearly $40 million in political contributions since the 1990s, including $15.4 million to Republican candidates and groups during the 2016 election cycle, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. The two have donated more than $1 million to party committees across the country, including about $572,000 to the Republican National Committee.

Latest FEC reports also show that Marlene Ricketts gave $100,000 to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s joint fundraising committee, $5,400 of which went to Ryan’s own campaign.

Joe Ricketts is the billionaire founder and former CEO of the online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, and he founded the digital news site DNAinfo in 2009.

Todd Ricketts' brother Tom Ricketts is the chairman of the Cubs. Three siblings -- Todd Ricketts, Pete Ricketts and Laura Ricketts -- are members of the team's board.

Pete Ricketts is in his first term as the Republican governor of Nebraska.

Todd Ricketts himself has donated about $672,600 to Republican candidates and conservative groups, according to the FEC, mostly in the last decade.

But despite the trust he seems to have gained from Trump, Todd Ricketts was originally a supporter of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and donated about $2,500 to both Walker's campaign and a Super PAC supporting him.

Early in 2016, the Ricketts family had participated in an anti-Trump campaign within the GOP, with Joe and Marlene Ricketts donating $5.5 million to an outside group in support of Trump’s primary competitor Sen. Ted Cruz.

During the campaign, Trump tweeted that the Ricketts were "secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!"

As soon as Trump won the GOP primary, however, the Ricketts family immediately shifted gears to support Trump. Todd Ricketts teamed up with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to set up a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called the 45Committee and its affiliated super PAC Future45 to spend more than $45 million backing Trump and attacking Hillary Clinton, FEC reports show.

Future45 has raised just short of $105,000 this election cycle, but hasn’t spent any of it on campaigns yet.

So far this year, the Ricketts family hasn’t made any significant political moves other than a $513,386 campaign to save vulnerable Republican Rep. Rick Saccone’s seat in southern Pennsylvania through Ending Spending, another political nonprofit set up by Joe Ricketts.

ABC News’ Meghan Keneally contributed to this report

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